Snap To Point in the Field

GIS data rarely lines up with the real-world location of a utility line. This type of issue is especially common in the construction industry. “Potholing” is a term commonly referred to as the process of verifying the location of buried utilities by hydro-vacuuming dirt away until the utility in question is exposed. Once the buried utility is exposed, its location is marked by the field team. This real-world location is then checked against GIS records. Often, the existing GIS records will not match the exposed location and thus those records must be updated.

ProStar provides two specific functionalities within the Transparent Earth® and PointMan® solutions in support of the utility operations to provide the ability to match the GIS data to the field data and then allow access to the correct data from the cloud to all authorized field and office stakeholders.

  • For Existing Linework – Select the line work and “snapping” it directly to the potholed location, moving the theoretical line to verified potholed location.

  • For New Linework – Creating a new or add on to an existing line segment representing a utility; where the user would be able to select a series of points and connect them continuously creating/adding to a line feature.

The rationale for the functionality is to both simplify the data collection process in the field, allow verification of the actual potholed locations by the field personal that are at that location and to ensure the information can be used by those that need it on a real time basis.

The previous manual process incurred costs due to additional office time and re-work and potential error due to the need to follow a several step process. The existing manual process was cumbersome and involves several conversion and transmission steps elevating the potential for errors at each step.

Existing Manual Process:

  1. Export the collected features from the field data collector after pickup of potholed point locations

  2. Transfer and convert the collected features into a CAD environment.

  3. Manipulate the converted features within the office CAD environment, connecting and checking with field operations on exactly which points are part of the line as opposed to the on-site field operator who has the best knowledge at the time and place of collection.

  4. Convert and transfer the modified features back to the PointMan® and Transparent Earth® environment.

PointMan’s Process:

  1. The field operator is  able to use PointMan to select the line work in question and “snap” it directly to the potholed location, thus matching the pedigree of the pothole

  2. Utilizes an intuitive, simple and easy-to-use field tool to do so efficiently.

The process for creating new line work if none exists is similar except that the user would be able to select each point and then connect them with line features that match the existing level style. Prostar’s PointMan software is an ideal solution to automate these processes. The PointMan solution eliminates the manual time and direct cost of it with an automated and standardized workflow performed by the field personal that are on site and can field check the assumptions immediately and upload the data in real time.

As well, the pedigree of the potholed points is then transferred to be the pedigree of the line vertices preserving the integrity of the data collected.

In addition, there are intangible gains that will be realized. Now the project data is only updated and converted manually on a scheduled basis. With the addition of the Snap functions, this can be done on a real time basis or as new data is brought in.  This solution will ensure that the data is not required to be post processed or handled unnecessarily outside of automated workflow process resulting in gains in cost efficiency as well as immediate availability of the updated datasets. There is also the minimization of indirect costs due to lost productivity, potential re-work or incidents and safety considerations in having data that may not be updated and available to both field and office personnel as quickly as it is collected.


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